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Waltz 1986

Waltz 1986

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Published by: MUPPScott on Jun 13, 2011
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06/13/2011

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Waltz, Kenneth. “A Response to My Critics”, in Neorealism and its Critics. 1986Ruggie:
Waltz missed Durkheim’s idea of dynamic intensity – the change in propertyrights and authority structures between the medieval and modern period was a change indynamic intensity, and this was a fundamental change in the structure of the system,something Waltz doesn’t account for.
Waltz replies:
 
Dynamic intensity is not only denser economic transactions, but also socialtransactions and change. The transformation of social structure is not changedfundamentally by trade, that is, the horizontal structure of IR has not beenreplaced by hierarchy.
1
 
 
Lots of unit-level changes affect the structure, but they can’t be included in thedefinition of the structure.
 
Structural theory is meant to explain continuity in world politics. It doesn’texplain unit-level change – only structural outcomes, or “a small number of bigand important things…those component and forces that usually continue for longperiods.” (p. 329)
Keohane:
 
Waltz thinks power is more fungible than it is.
 
Waltz says theories should be confirmed as well as falsified, testing wise –confirming is problematic, you can always find confirming cases.
 
Calls for more emphasis on norms, institutions, and non-state actors
Waltz replies:
 
Power is highly fungible for strong states, maybe less so for weaker ones. On theCanada prevailing over U.S. example given by Keohane, the U.S. officialsprobably didn’t care about the outcomes or notice them.
 
Confirming and falsification attempts are good, just make the tests hard.
 
The structure of the international system sets the context for and limits thedevelopment of norms, institutions, etc. The structure is defined in terms of itsprincipal actors – states, not institutions.
Ashley and Cox:
 
States should not be the unit of analysis – why enshrine the state?
 
History is excluded, a frozen picture of the world is developed and upheld.
Waltz replies
:
 
I’m not trying to have a theory of the state, and I know states are not unitaryblack-box actors. I don’t have a theory of domestic politics, that’s not my aim.System level effects require its own theory, and my job is not to unify thesystemic and domestic level theories.
1
“The change Ruggie identifies does not move international society from a condition in which like units are weaklyheld together by their similarities to one in which unlike units are united by their differences.” (p 326)

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